Breathwork practices for alleviating stress
Breathing is something we do every day without even thinking about it. Breath is powerful and when we are intentional about it we can create great change in our overall well-being. For overcoming stress and anxiety here are 3 breathwork exercises you can try to help alleviate your tension and find more clarity and peace. I invite you to take time away from your busy schedule and practice one of these for 5 minutes each day for a month to notice the impact they can have on cooling your nervous system and calming your mind.
1. Alternate Nostril Breathing
Alternate nostril breathing is a great practice to calm your body and help ease intrusive thoughts.
- Put your index finger and middle finger of the right hand on your forehead in the center of your eyebrows.
- Block your right nostril while you breathe in through your left
- Close off your left with your little finger and ring finger
- Exhale out of your right nostril
- Inhale through the right nostril, switch again and breathe out of the left.
A key tip is to hold for 4 counts in between breaths before exhaling out of the alternate nostril. This adds an extra layering of clearing the body and mind of tension.
2. Box Breathing
Among one of the most popular forms of breathwork and most ancient, box breathing is very useful for calming the anxious mind and preparing the mind for meditation.
- Slowly inhale through your nose for 4 seconds
- Hold your breath at the top of your inhale for 4 second
- Exhale out of your nose for 4 seconds
- Hold the exhale at the bottom for 4 seconds
- Repeat this pattern
- On your last round exhale out of your mouth and let it all go!
3. Mindful Breath or Awareness of Breath
- Begin by noticing the sensations of your body and mind, this helps to keep us in the present moment and connect with your bodies
- Gently breathe in through your nose and try your best to keep the awareness of your breath
- As you exhale the air out of your nose notice your belly relaxing and the sensations occur
- Keep transitioning back and forth and take this at your count, whatever feels right
- When the mind wanders off and thoughts come in refocus your attention on the breath
Give these practices a try and discover which works best for you!